Do it yourself, kids.

A friend recently told me about Ross Wolfe's fascinating site that includes great information about Soviet history and the history of avant-garde architecture. I was especially drawn to the post below, thinking about the relationship between the author (who had to "walk a fine line as they helped children visualize tantalizing opportunities of exploration and invention while placing limits on this potentially uninhibited dreaming"), a child who may have worked through these cardboard projects imagining new possibilities for his or her future, and the ruling party, dictating what might be learned by these young minds.

"A stratum of do-it-yourself books focused exclusively on teaching children about the world outside the imaginative realm by offering age-appropriate accounts of how complex machines like tractors, Morse code transmitters, semaphores, steam locomotives, and radio-receivers work and, for some, how they can be made at home. They discuss important topics for the Five-Year Plans, give advice on how to build some of these at home, and stress the significance of collective labor and socialist rationalization," reads this post entitled A. Laptev, We build from cardboard [Строим из картона] (1932).

Living Archive of Identities Lost

Often I think about personal histories within large communities of people and how they will be remembered. This project by Ziyah Gafić, where he "photographs everyday objects—watches, shoes, glasses," is powerful.  "But these images are deceptively simple; the items in them have been exhumed from the mass graves of the Bosnian War. Gafić, a TED Fellow and Sarajevo native, is photographing every item from these graves in order to create a living archive of the identities of those lost."

Watch here. 


Electrician Youtube stars

With all of the negative and scary news coming from Luhansk, it is interesting to see these pretty hilarious and well-made videos from two Luhansk electricians. (You can donate money to them if you want via their channel.)

"Pavlo is employed by the local internet provider. Oleksandr repairs household appliances. This is why there is sufficient technical material for shooting... Oleksandr and Pavlo shoot the videos after work — each session can take several hours. The most complex part of the project, however, is the editing. 'Sometimes viewers write us saying that this is impossible, you must have edited this in. But we never falsify our experiments,' Pavlo says," according to this article from Euromaidan Press.

 I highly recommend watching all of the videos on kreosan's YouTube channel, but here are a few of my favorites.

Microwave energy magnetron:

This one (about the effects of a microwave on cds and soap) published on September 7th shows the surrounding areas of Luhansk and ends with the guys underground with definite unrest above them:

"How to make a high voltage generator 15 minutes" minutes shows us the interior of a Luhansk home as well:

Dontesk Billboards mimic WW2

I came across this article from Euromaidan Press, a great resource in English for information in Ukraine. Seeing these billboards in Dontesk is an eerie look into the conflict present in the everyday for citizens living in Eastern Ukraine, and the bubbling up of history via propaganda. Disturbing, indeed.

Separatists in Donetsk have displayed advertisements on the city’s streets that are copy-pasted from Soviet propaganda of the times of WW2, appealing to the nostalgic feelings of many citizens of the region for Soviet times, and even earlier.... in an attempt to show that the current military struggle will be seen as glorious in the future as the indicated conflicts were to the people at the time.
Join the ranks of the Donbas People’s Militia! Photo by Said Ismagilov, via  Euromaidan Press , July 4, 2014.

Join the ranks of the Donbas People’s Militia! Photo by Said Ismagilov, via Euromaidan Press, July 4, 2014.

The original poster, translation, "Motherland calls!"

The original poster, translation, "Motherland calls!"

99 Year Difference

A friend shared this series of old photographs in Kyiv from 1912. It's a gorgeous, opulent city. 

The image below is of Besarabska, an indoor market in the heart of downtown, which has functioned a a marketplace for over a century and longer.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

In the video below you will see the same building (with the Universal Bank billboard on it) and a crazed Khreshchatyk Street, which is the main street of Kyiv. I abruptly and shakily shot this video on August 5, 2011 when I witnessed hundreds of "Militsia" running through the streets amidst shoppers and vehicles parked everywhere. Moments later I turned the corner, camera off, to see a paddywagon carrying Yulia Tymosehnko wail by, driving her to trial and then subsequently, to prison for two and a half years.